Reigns: Her Majesty
Ruling a kingdom isn’t easy. But in a game where there are 26 deaths to collect, chances of intriguing encounters each time you gasp out your last breath, and different events for every single round, wise governance is pretty much optional.
This isn’t just a case of flicking cards left and right with the reckless abandon of Tinder. Sure, you have to choose with the same caution whether to blow off your coronation party or greet a visiting King and his Queen with cloying cordiality, but there’s a twist: before each new life starts, you’re faced with a horoscope clock. Every queen has her own star sign, which in truly cosmic fashion determines what kind of cards you’ll run into. More war, better chance at romance, that kind of thing. You know they’re special by the small symbol in the corner, so every time you run into one there’s an exhilarating chance to make this rare encounter count. Such a simple addition makes each queen feel like she’s actually juggling wildly different politics from her predecessor.
You soon figure out which star sign you’ll need to rule in to complete certain milestones, but the title cards at the beginning of each reign sure help too. Short and snappy (hopefully not like your neck at the end of your monarchy), they set the stage for how your previous queen left the country and what new challenges her heir faces. So, rather cannily, if you rule flippantly you’ll have a devil of a time in your next life. Speaking of lives, there are wickedly clever appearances from the ominous All-mother and infuriating duel master to keep you on your toes. The former delivers threatening prophecies, and the other spouts empowering statistics with mechanical fervour, or invites you to share its bogus feminist percentile results. By god, it’s funny.
And as with most games, there are issues. Objects given to you by characters are stored at the bottom of the screen, ready to be used – although it’s not entirely obvious when that should be. Sometimes a character will straight-up ask for one, yet mostly you’re left to guess when would be wise to chuck a USB stick of your results in someone’s face or challenge them to a duel. Get it wrong once too often, and you’ll get beheaded for such reckless abandon. So it’s easy to get stuck in the same cycle of affairs (the dull kind, although you can romance characters) without much clue as to which object thrown at which card would get you out of your rut.
Improving upon the original game in almost every way, Reigns: Her Majesty is deviously fun, dangerously addictive, and has a sense of humour way better than any court jester.
above: No one said being Queen was easy, and sometimes there’s just no winning against the stupidity of your court… and kingdom.
super mario run
above: Watch out for the All-mother: is she friend or foe? Different characters will tell you what to think, but be careful…